#REVIEW: “UNFINISHED BUSINESS”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
“Vince Vaughn still makes Movies?” My friend asked me that after I told him I was reviewing Unfinished Business, Vaughn’s new Comedy. He has had a few Movies come out over the past few years, including Delivery Man, his first team-up with Business Director Ken Scott (who adapted that Film from his own French-Canadian original). But Vaughn has mostly flown under the radar, never quite matching the Films that made him so popular in the mid-2000s. I imagine that he hopes to change that with this latest effort.
After quitting his job Jerry Maguire-style, Dan Trunkman starts his own competing business with colleague Timothy (Tom Wilkinson) and young upstart Mike (Dave Franco). They do not get very far in their first year, suiting up and working out of a Dunkin Donuts. But when a major deal comes their way, they have to fly to Portland and then Berlin to close it – all while trying to stay ahead of Oktoberfest, the G8 Summit, a Gay Festival, and Trunkman’s former Company which also is inching towards the deal.
The underlying issue with Unfinished Business is that it feels simply, unfinished, struggling a bit tonally. It wants to be a raunchy R-rated Frat Comedy so badly – but the forced Bullying Drama that envelopes Dan’s Kids and his own home life in general forces the Film off any trajectory it attempts to set for itself. Their scenes seemed culled together from a different Film altogether, and then tossed-in at random to off-set the dirty jokes. Except any and all of the pathos it builds for Vaughn’s Character falls flat (including some really odd Voiceovers). Vaughn tried to pull at the heartstrings before with Delivery Man and seemed ill-suited for the part. Here he tries even harder, and it just seems out-of-place entirely. He still seems near-perfect at remaining serious in the face of ridiculousness, and I feel the Film and his performance would have benefitted greatly if he stuck to that narrow tone.
Franco easily picks up the slack, playing an off-beat and clueless Trainee. While his mental health may be questionable, do not let that stop you from laughing at how naïve and silly his Character is. He jumps headfirst like his Brother James before him, and commits to each and every scene and joke. Wilkinson is even better, stealing every moment and playing directly against-type. Some of his antics may have the feeling of seen it, done it, but I will never tire of seeing an insanely dramatic Performer letting loose as a sexually-repressed old Man. I just wish the Film knew how to use him better.
Of the Supporting Cast, featuring James Marsden and a near-unrecognizable Sienna Miller, only Nick Frost is afforded the opportunity to make something of his Character. His stand-out scene in a glory-hole filled German bathroom is hysterical, managing not to be as homophobic as one might assume.
Unfinished Business has some ridiculously-funny moments packed within it – but the majority of them can be found in the R-rated Trailer. The only thing that Trailer misses is the odd dramatic beats the Film can never quite make sense of. It’s a real shame too because Franco and Wilkinson are a riot from beginning to end, and there is even a glimmer of that humour Vaughn is so known for – feeling all in vain in the end. Maybe we just have to wait until after the second Season of True Detective to see his grand return.
20th Century Fox Canada release UNFINISHED BUSINESS on Friday, March 6, 2015.